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Showtime Toasts TV ‘Excellence’ With Patricia Arquette, Jim Carrey, Ben Stiller, Sacha Baron Cohen

In a world of 500 TV shows, it matters that you take big swings for greatness. That was David Nevins’ message to attendees Saturday night at Showtime’s pre-Golden Globe Awards gathering held at Sunset Tower Hotel in West Hollywood.

Nevins, who was recently named CBS Corp.’s chief creative officer in addition to his role as Showtime chairman-CEO, saluted the roster of nominees that he believes demonstrates the breadth and depth of the channel’s programming. And the ephemera of Hollywood’s annual awards derby season helps put the spotlight on deserving work.

“In a world of 500 shows, people want to watch stuff that is really, really good and striving to be great,” Nevins told Variety. “Shows like ‘Kidding,’ ‘Escape at Dannemora,’ Sacha Baron Cohen’s ‘Who Is America’ are striving for excellence. I don’t believe the awards process is entirely about excellence but it’s an indicator of excellence.”

The steady rain that soaked Sunset Boulevard wasn’t enough to stop the “Escape at Dannemora” gang from coming out in force. Patricia Arquette was inundated with compliments about her juggernaut of a performance in the Ben Stiller-directed limited series about the real-life 2015 prison break in upstate New York.

Stiller also made the rounds with “Dannemora’s” Bonnie Hunt and Eric Lange, and Stiller and spent some time comparing notes with Baron Cohen, who attended with wife Isla Fisher. “I’m so happy for the actors that people have responded so well to the material,” Stiller told Variety. He also gave his endorsement to Showtime’s old-school strategy of releasing episodes weekly rather than all at once, saying it gave real “momentum” to “Dannemora,” which wrapped its seven-episode run on Dec. 30.

Jim Carrey and his “Kidding” co-stars Ginger Gonzaga and Judy Greer were on hand to toast the freshman series’ Globe nomination for comedy series. “SMILF” creator-star Frankie Shaw and “Shameless’ ” Steve Howey were among those offering support for Team Showtime.

A glimpse of Showtime’s future was evident with the presence of actor Casey Wilson and David Caspe, co-creator of the comedy “Black Monday,” which bows Jan. 20, and Jonathan Tucker and Aldis Hodge of the upcoming drama “City on a Hill.”

(Pictured: “Escape at Dannemora’s” Ben Stiller and Patricia Arquette and CBS Corp./Showtime’s David Nevins)

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